That is the question raised last night when this MLS report surfaced listing every current and past Designated Player since the rule was introduced in 2007. To the surprise of many the Fire have one name on the list this season and you would have been hard pressed to guess who that could have possibly been given the latest league salary report.
Federico Puppo's name appears on the list as a Designated Player. Yes, Federico Puppo.
The Players Union report lists Puppo at $100,000.00 in guaranteed compensation for 2012 but as stated in last week's Salary Cap review the MLSPU report isn't always the definitive source for attempting to decipher what is actually spent on player acquisitions since no information is given on transfer fees, allocation transactions, etc. Puppo was acquired in January from Danubio FC but his rights were actually held by Uruguayan Primera Division rivals River Plate who had loaned him to Danubio. The deal to get Puppo to Chicago included a transfer fee paid to Danubio in order to buy his rights, which the Fire now hold. That transfer fee, by MLS rules designated him as a DP although his salary was not over the $350,000 mark that is typically the threshold used to identify such a player.
Due to the ever complicated process that is MLS budgeting, Puppo is a DP since the total sum of the transaction to bring him to Chicago equaled the cost of a DP slot. The good news is that the transfer fee apparently doesn't affect the total salary cap/budget total this year or next so it should not preclude the club from adding reinforcements during the next transfer window. His salary amount is the only figure affecting the total budget cost. The bad news is that since Puppo was technically brought in as a DP that designation will remain with him throughout the duration of his stay with the club thereby taking up one of the valuable two DP slots that are available without paying an additional fee.
Either way, the amount of resources expended doesn't add up to the return on a player who could essentially be a capable reserve at best.